How Republicans take more of your money

The Virginia General Assembly has passed a new "Dangerous Driver Law" which will add hefty "fees" to already existing fines for traffic violations.

It will keep the clerk's office busy collecting the first of three annual civil fee payments from drivers convicted of any number of traffic violations. The civil fees will be on top of traffic fines courts impose, and are part of the new financial package to help fund Virginia's beleaguered highway department.
For instance, an offender charged and convicted of reckless driving for going 20 mph over the speed limit would pay the traffic fines and court costs, plus be accessed a $1,000 civil fee. One-third of the civil fee would have to be paid the day of the conviction. The rest would be paid in two equal installments over the next two years. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for collecting the final two payments.

So an extra $1,000 added extra out of the blue for going 20 mph over the speed limit, which as any Washington DC commuter can attest is something that most drivers do on the Beltway anyway.

The idea, according to published a report, is “Drive Safe and Save Money.” “We felt it would be a good thing to do for public safety and a unique way to raise more funding,” said Del. Steve Landes, (R-Weyers Cave,) who co-sponsored the legislation this past winter.

I'd like to see a published study that proves that lower speed limits actually increase safety, cause I'm skeptical.

Instead of direct taxes to fund transportation, some are calling the civil penalties “hidden fees.” They range from $250 to $3,000, depending on the traffic violation, and will be assessed on a variety of misdemeanor traffic violations including being a passenger in a hit and run or the failure to give a proper signal.
Local elected officials didn't want to go on the record commenting on this way of raising funds for transportation in the state, but privately several said it was a way of keeping the Republican-controlled General Assembly from having to implement a new tax or raise taxes for the troubled transportation system.

In the words of Barry Sobel from a memorable Dr. Katz episode, that's how they get you, that's how they get you!

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I live in Richmond, VA and I don't know anyone in Richmond that is under the age of 75 that does the speed limit, doesn't occasionally roll through stop signs, run redlights on a regular basis...

This is going to be like all the traffic cameras at the stop lights.  The legislator passed this dumb law and once enough of those guys get hit with these fines, they are going to go back and kill the law.  I give it a 6-8 month lifespan at most...

Uninformative title

I am not sure how the title How Republicans take more of your money is supposed to inform me about the content of the article. Suppose everyone did as you did, and, rather than indicate the particular issue in their title, titled everything, Look at what the Democrats did this time, or, The Republicans are at it again. I think the problem with such an approach to titling is obvious.

If, of course, your goal is to demonstrate that there is something particularly harmful about Republicans, that is another story. However, you have not demonstrated this point here any more than you have demonstrated that people of Landes's gender, race, religion, sexual persuasion, age, height, weight, or blood type are particularly dangerous.

Informative title budget

Unfortunately, Dr. Wilde blew the Informative Title budget on speeding tickets. For the remainder of the fiscal year, our post titles will be uninformative. However, they should remain syntactically well-formed, provided that Speedy McLeadfoot can keep out of trouble.

unintended consequences

1) You're misunderstanding what the article says. "A person charged with and convicted of reckless driving" is vastly different from "out of the blue for going 20 mph over the limit". This sounds a lot like standard bullshit legislation with very little real-world effect. Are they adding similar fees for people NOT convicted of a crime, but who accept and pay a civil infraction?

2) To the extent that this matters at all, I predict it will be balanced by the fact that it's now FAR more important to contest the ticket or bargain to a cheaper infraction.

A person going over 20mph *is* reckless by VA statute

THe other standard is "at any time going over 80mph".

Thus aside from rush hour on the DC beltway, *every single* driver on the Virginia side is statutorially driving recklessly, since the speed limit is still just 55mph. Trust me, if you drive 55 on the Virginia portion of the beltway you will get hit, sooner or later (or else cause a wreck indirectly).

You also cannot prepay a reckless ticket, you *must* show up in court. Further, in Fairfax County at least, there are several notorious "hanging judges" who enjoy doling out criminal records and jail time for someone going 77 in a 55.

What I see this doing is providing a huge incentive for local and state police to milk the cash cow with even greater fervor- and when you can get $1000 per for stopping almost literally anyone in Northern Virginia, you're going to see a lot more resources devoted to harassing motorists locally, and I imagine all over the state as well.

The difference is, if you have a lawyer you can wheedle your way down to simple "improper driving" in most of these cases (and if they're smart, they know the judge draw and will delay until you get a good one), but how many folk will think to get a lawyer and/or will be fortunate enough to have one that knows what they're doing?